The J. Geils Band, Musta Got Lost (live, from Blow Your Face Out including Peter Wolf’s immortal intro rap) . . . The studio version was a No. 12 single in 1975 and arguably the band’s best-known song before the mass commercial success of the Freeze Frame album in 1981. But this live version is ‘the’ definitive version, thanks to lead singer Peter Wolf’s intro.
Roger Waters, Amused To Death (live) . . . No, not another show featuring songs from live albums. I intend to get back to that eventually, but just happened to start with a couple which I couldn’t/didn’t squeeze into the live album show of a few weeks ago. Nine-minute title cut from Waters’ 1992 album, this version taken from the In The Flesh live album, from 2000. The song title was inspired by Neil Postman’s 1985 book Amusing Ourselves To Death which had a big influence on my thinking and I highly recommend.
Pink Floyd, Pigs (Three Different Ones) . . . My favorite song from a personal favorite Floyd album, Animals, from 1977, a record which, to the mainstream, seems to get overlooked amid Dark Side, Wish You Were Here and The Wall. Meddle, the album before The Dark Side Of The Moon, shares that circumstance with Animals . . . Love the “You fucked up old hag…” A reference to UK morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse, who Deep Purple similarly disparaged in Mary Long from their 1973 Who Do We Think We Are album.
Led Zeppelin, What Is And What Should Never Be . . . I always remember when my older brother, by eight years, brought Led Zeppelin II home and, at first, being overwhelmed by the heaviness of it in contrast to the Beatles’ and Stones’ diet I had pretty much subsisted on to that point. And then being fascinated, hearing that guitar break coming out of first one speaker channel, then the other.
Queen, Dead On Time . . . Killer Queen rock, pun intended, from the Jazz album. Yet another great Queen track written by guitarist Brian May, who wrote so many of the great Queen tunes, hits or otherwise.
Black Sabbath, Heaven And Hell . . . From the terrific first Sabbath album featuring the late great Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals. I got into this album via the DJ at that bar, The Riverside in Oakville, Ontario that I often reference I worked at during college. We had live rock bands upstairs in the place, which featured a disco (we’re talking late 1970s), an acoustic downstairs cubbyhole, an outside patio (no live music) and the upstairs Boathouse as I recall it was called, where the rock bands played. Anyway, between sets we had a DJ playing stuff and Sabbath’s Heaven And Hell was one of those, along with Ted Nugent’s Double Live Gonzo, Judas Priest’s British Steel and Stained Class, and AC/DC’s Highway To Hell and Back In Black that he played the shit out of and as a result got me into those albums. Love the album cover, too, the Sabbath one, three angels smoking cigarettes. A particularly amazing album when one considers that Sabbath had just lost iconic singer Ozzy Osbourne, people wondered about the band and they responded with a stone-cold classic. Similar to what AC/DC did with Back In Black after Bon Scott died.
AC/DC, Problem Child . . . Kick butt rocker from the relatively early days of the band, the late Bon Scott on lead vocals. I like both versions of AC/DC but Bon’s vocals sometimes, wow. Like on this tune where, to me, like with lots of Ozzy stuff on early Sabbath albums, he, dunno how to explain it, seems to sort of come in from somewhere else, riding the opening riff and then off they all go to even greater heights. To me, this track is an example of that.
Deep Purple, No No No . . . From Fireball. Aside from Ian Gillan, the band members don’t seem to like this album but as a big Purple fan I think everything they’ve done, all versions of the band, is worthwhile.
Thin Lizzy, Opium Trail . . . I like Lizzy a lot and anyone who’s into them knows they are far more than The Boys Are Back In Town. This propulsive track is from the, to me, killer Bad Reputation (great title track I’ve played before) album, arguably a harder-rocking offering than some preceding work. Yet they released the relatively softer Dancing In The Moonlight (good song) as the lone single, backed with the title track.
The Doors, The Changeling . . . Nice bluesy track from what is perhaps my favorite Doors album, L.A. Woman.
The Rolling Stones, Melody . . . Essentially a duet between Mick Jagger and then Stones’ session man, keyboard player and great artist in his own right Billy Preston. From the album, Black And Blue, that Keith Richards has categorized as ‘auditioning guitar players’ from which the Stones settled on Ron Wood to replace the departed Mick Taylor. Jeff Beck, Rory Gallagher, Harvey Mandel (Canned Heat, John Mayall) and noted session player (for too many artists to count) Wayne Perkins (great solo on the album’s Hand Of Fate) auditioned. Another one of those songs that shows the Stones’ versatility and, more so perhaps, willingness to tackle any genre. The album was largely panned when it came out but, as is often the case, it’s now considered the classic we Stones fans knew it was, from the beginning.
Jethro Tull, Alive And Well And Living In . . . A track from the expanded re-release of the sometimes (aside from Tull fans like me) overlooked Benefit album, 1970. The song also came out on the North American CD release of the Living In The Past compilation, originally released in 1972.
Chicago, In The Country . . . You saw how I did that? From the Tull song title to . . . living In The Country. Ha! Anyway, another great tune from the second Chicago album, 1970. They were, to me, ridiculously good for the first three albums especially, and on until Terry Kath’s sad death at age 31 in 1978 via an unintentional self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Kinks, Celluloid Heroes . . . Another late 1960s/early 1970s (this from 1972) Kinks’ song to not make the charts. Just absurd. A well-known song by the band, nevertheless, and deservedly so.
Rainbow, Self Portrait . . . Another nice tune featuring the lead vocals of Ronnie James Dio, this from the first Rainbow album. After two more Rainbow albums, Dio left to replace Ozzy in Black Sabbath on the Heaven And Hell album. Dio made any band he was in better. I can barely stomach the more pop-oriented Rainbow, aside from a few tracks, after Dio’s departure.
Blue Oyster Cult, Flaming Telepaths . . . Early Blue Oyster Cult, from Secret Treaties, their third album and last of the ‘black and white’ period of album covers. Typically spooky stuff from that period, this before the next studio album, Agents Of Fortune, which featured their deserved breakthrough hit, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper.
Jeff Beck, Max’s Tune . . . From Rough And Ready, from the second iteration of the Jeff Beck Group – first version with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood; second with Bobby Tench (vocals, rhythm guitar) Max Middleton (piano/keyboards) Clive Garman (bass) and Cozy Powell (drums). Also known as Raynes Park Blues. I don’t know how to describe this one, actually, mellow for the most part, jazzy. I just like it.
Savoy Brown, Money Can’t Save Your Soul . . . Nice bluesy track from a band I very much like and who I saw, great show, at a recent Kitchener Blues Festival.
ZZ Top, 2000 Blues . . . From 1990’s Recycler album which marked, somewhat, the band’s emergence from the huge hit, synthesizer-driven 1980s albums like Eliminator (Legs, etc.) and Afterburner and back to, at least on this one, the blues that was the band’s original bread and butter. Of course, they’ve been much less successful, commercially, since but I’ll just leave it at that – and I do like some of the ‘synthesizer’ stuff; good songs in there amid the murk.
Bruce Springsteen, Darkness On The Edge Of Town . . . Title track from the wall-to-wall quality 1978 album. As previously mentioned, I like his before and after work but my favorite albums of his remain Born To Run, this one, Darkness, and then The River. Age, time/place, whatever, to me he was at his peak musically and lyrically.